Bunker Prices, Economic Cycles Driving Ship Efficiency Gains, Not IMO's EEDI Standard: NGOs

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Tuesday April 5, 2016

Improvements in vessel efficiency is being driven by bunker prices and economic cycles, and not because of the uptake of new technologies driven by improved standards such as International Maritime Organization's (IMO's) Energy-Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), according to a new study released Monday by NGOs Seas At Risk (SAR) and Transport & Environment (T&E).

The study, which was conducted by CE Delft on behalf of SAR and T&E, found that of vessels launched in the 2015 year, at least two-thirds of containerships, half of general cargo ships, and a quarter of tankers both met and exceeded the 2020 efficiency design requirement without the use of innovative new technologies.

"Since 2013 newly-built ships subject to [EEDI ] have performed much the same as those not covered," the NGOs said.

As a result, SAR and T&E say the current standards are too weak, and there is an urgent need for them to be strengthened.

"What is now clear is that recent improvements in ship design efficiency are the result of the market, not the EEDI," said John Maggs, senior policy advisor at SAR.

"If efficiency standards are not tightened there is a real risk that a change in market circumstances will result in ship design efficiency falling back to the level of the current weak standards."

The NGO's note that while a review of the EEDI is currently in progress, an IMO meeting later this month could close the review without enhancing the requirements.

As Ship & Bunker reported in February, SAR and T&E said the 1.5/2°C global warming limit agreed to during the COP 21 climate summit in Paris "will be impossible to meet" unless the IMO and Europe implement emission reduction measures for the shipping industry.

Commenting on the study's findings, Sotiris Raptis, shipping policy officer for T&E, said "the tightening of requirements for the design efficiency of new ships is the first test of the IMO's climate ambition after Paris."

This is certainly not the first time a critical study has been released by SAR and T&E, and historically not everyone in the industry has seen eye-to-eye with their findings.

Last April, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) dismissed a claim by T&E that modern ships are less CO2 efficient than those built over 20 years ago as "fanciful."